Critical perspective Iain Banks was really two authors. One of them, Iain Banks, was best known for his classic, frequently macabre works of contemporary Scottish fiction, the other, Iain M. Banks, for his best selling works of science fiction. However, the differences between the two cannot be sustained for very long, as anyone who has enjoyed the futuristic dimensions of, for example, The Bridge , by Iain Banks , or noted the many references to contemporary Scotland in the science fiction, will know. Banks, as if to further highlight the arbitrariness of any division in his work. Like his earlier novel, The Bridge, Transition dwells upon the transitory and transitional states between dualities.
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Critical perspective Iain Banks was really two authors. One of them, Iain Banks, was best known for his classic, frequently macabre works of contemporary Scottish fiction, the other, Iain M. Banks, for his best selling works of science fiction. However, the differences between the two cannot be sustained for very long, as anyone who has enjoyed the futuristic dimensions of, for example, The Bridge , by Iain Banks , or noted the many references to contemporary Scotland in the science fiction, will know.
Banks, as if to further highlight the arbitrariness of any division in his work. Like his earlier novel, The Bridge, Transition dwells upon the transitory and transitional states between dualities.
Unfolding between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Collapse of the Twin Towers, Transition also moves deftly between a referential post-war world and the parallel universes of science fiction, between Iain Banks and Iain M.
Banks, in what many critics described as an impressive return to form. In this context, Banks was either a striking success or a dramatic failure, depending on your perspective. Viewed from one position, Banks had been relatively unshackled by the sort of generic constraints and conventions that have held back some of his contemporaries, making him one of the most prolific contemporary writers in the UK, and one of the most read authors in the world.
My point has always been that, ever since the Industrial Revolution, science fiction has been the most important genre there is. Meanwhile, Raw Spirit , which is ostensibly a non-fictional work on travel and whisky, offers notable diatribes on the George W. Bush, Tony Blair and the invasion of Iraq. Similarly, The Crow Road centres on a perfect murder in an imaginary town in Argyll.
All three novels unfold within a recognisably local, but by turns dark, deranged and damaged Scotland, and all three use a range of jarring cinematic devices such as flashback, to striking and sometimes disorienting effect. Stonemouth is in many ways reminiscent of the early fiction, most notably The Crow Road. A male protagonist returns to small town Scotland after a five-year absence and is forced to confront his childhood fears and fantasies.
Death is in the air. That said, it is a quieter, more controlled novel than the switchback rides of the early fiction. However, as the Guardian reviewer, Stuart Kelly notes, appearances in this novel can be "as deceptive as the diaphanous mists and shimmering fogs that wreathe the town". Moving in the other direction, Consider Phlebas, by M.
Banks, was the first of the Culture novels, a tale of inter-galactic travel that takes the reader on a journey to a futuristic waste land the title of the novel comes from T. His latest work in the series, The Hydrogen Sonata marks 25 years of the Culture novels. This is science fiction with a history: back to the future.
Indeed, the Culture novels all eight of them often seem to betray the genre by looking back. While the gothic excesses and disjunctive shifts in time that characterise works like The Crow Road seem to gesture towards the conventions of science fiction, the faint whiff of nostagia that suffuses the Culture novels, seems designed to work against the grain of futuristic fantasy.
Perhaps Iain M Banks is really one author after all. Dr James Procter
I like it because Iain B. He challenges your preconceptions, delights in startling you and gives you a mental workout. I like it because he invents strong, believable characters and puts them in hideous situations with storylines that are unpredictable and challenging. I like it because his dark and difficult books are clever, engaging and enjoyable to read. They put footprints all over your brain.
Sex and violence says Manny. An inferior anti-Thatcherite fantasy says Paul. And I say. It is about hopes and disappointments, unrequited love, bravery and cowardice. Technically, its a quintessentially modern English novel. There are two stories travelling at once. Neither of them is told chronologically heaven forbid we should start at the beginning and end at the end, too passe.
Plot introduction[ edit ] Its two main characters are Cameron Colley, a journalist on a Scottish newspaper called The Caledonian which resembles The Scotsman , and a serial murderer whose identity is a mystery. The passages dealing with the journalist are written in the first person , and those dealing with the murderer in the second person , so the novel presents, in alternate chapters, an unusual example of an unreliable narrator. The events take place mostly in and around Edinburgh. Plot summary[ edit ] Colley is a " Gonzo journalist " with an amphetamine habit, living in Edinburgh. He also smokes cigarettes and cannabis , drinks copious amounts of alcohol , plays computer games, and has adventurous sex with a married woman , Yvonne.